Episode 15

Time To Go From Busy To Productive | Part One

May 5th, 2021

Listen


In this episode, we speak with the fabulous Hollie Barac and Lauren Stratford and had a lovely discussion about their passion for helping women in business to design their business systems and structures to suit their life and smash society’s expectations of productivity.

How fabulous when you connect with other women in business who just get it. That is what happened with the three of us jumped onto a zoom to record this special episode. There is absolutely no competition here, just recognition for our similarities and how we are all on a mission to support women to create ease in their businesses.

What didn't we discuss in part one of this conversation

  • Dinky Diaries
  • Time blocking
  • Moving away from corporate guilt
  • Working to live not to live to work
  • Importance of understanding your workflow before deciding on a system

And we all agree that setting up your business to support the way you want to live is an essential part of the process.

This is part one of a special episode leading up to the GiGSuper Productivity Pro Series and I was so thrilled to host Hollie and Lauren for this conversation... Watch this space as you will be seeing more of the three of us to come.

Connect with our fabulous Speakers

Hollie Barac - Accountability and Productivity Partner


Hollie is an accountability and productivity partner committed to providing a safe, inclusive space that allows women in business to understand and develop the best way(s) to be productive that is right for them - and no one else.

Website | Facebook: Hollie | Instagram: Hollie | LinkedIn: Hollie

 

 

 

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Lauren Stratford - Seriously Sorted


Lauren from Seriously Sorted is a Productivity Coach and Systems Designer who helps overwhelmed creative solopreneurs maximise their impact, by providing practical advice and solutions on how to beat business overwhelm and manage their time better.

Website | Facebook: Seriously Sorted | Instagram: Seriously Sorted | LinkedIn: Seriously Sorted | LinkedIn: Lauren

 

 

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Come and join us for the GigSuper Productivity Pros Series

Feeling overwhelmed, distracted, and inefficient – albeit busy – is common for most self-employed folks in general especially if you’re solo and responsible for all the things.

However, if you’re feeling ready to whip your business back into shape, you are more than welcome to join GigSuper’s Productivity Pros Webinar Series!

Let the three productivity experts help you clear your mind, sharpen your focus and accomplish more in your business with ease. There will be three sessions available:

Session #1: The art of breathing ease into your every day
Nicole Smith | Process and System Designer, The Artisans Business Solutions
Tuesday, 18 May 2021 @ 12pm - 1pm AEST

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Session #2: Staying productive while working from home
Hollie Barac | Accountability & Productivity Partner
Wednesday, 19 May 2021 @ 12pm - 1pm AEST

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Session #3: Secrets to business planning for the solopreneur
Lauren Stratford | Productivity Coach, Seriously Sorted
Thursday, 20 May 2021 @ 12pm - 1pm AEST

 

 

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Full Episode Transcription

Unknown Speaker 0:03
Welcome to take control with Nicole. as business owners, we experienced firsthand the fine line between our personal and business lives. During our conversations, we will look at simple hints and tips to create time, reduce, overwhelm, and help you to navigate through your journey to where you want to be. If you're looking for smarter ways to work and create space and time freedom in your day, then you're in the right place. All right, let's go!

Unknown Speaker 0:33
Hello, and thank you for joining me for this fabulous episode of take control with Nicole. Today we have a very special episode for you. I am joined by two fabulously wonderful women, Hollie Barac and Lauren Stratford. Now starting on the 18th of May this year, we will be hosting a series of masterclasses for the team at geek super for their productivity pro series, which is going to be so so fabulous. Now the minute we all connected over email, I knew that we had to come together for this conversation with three extremely passionate people in this episode, I know it will be full of absolute amazingness. But firstly, I would love to introduce you to Holly and Lauren. Holly is an accountability and productivity partner committed to providing a safe, inclusive space that allows women in business to understand and develop the best ways to be productive that is right for them. And no one else while learn from seriously sorted is a productivity coach and systems designer who helps overwhelmed creative solopreneurs maximize their impact by providing practical advice and solutions on how to beat business overwhelm and manage their time better. I hear you all thinking right now, this sounds exactly like what you do for your clients in a call and you would be smack bang right on the money there. This is why I'm so excited about this conversation. Holly and Lauren are absolutely singing from my from the same sheet of music as I do. And I love how passionate we all are about helping women in business to design their business systems and structures to suit their life and smash society's expectation of productivity. Get ready ladies, it's time to go from busy to productive.

Unknown Speaker 2:24
Well, hello, ladies. Thank you so much for joining me today. I'm so so excited about you being here to share with my community just how fabulous you are.

Unknown Speaker 2:35
Hi Nicole, thanks for having us. We're so excited.

Unknown Speaker 2:38
Yes. Hi. Thank you so much. It's amazing to be here.

Unknown Speaker 2:42
So good. And I just I'm sorry. As soon as I saw Jess from gigs, super had put all three of us on the lineup. I'm like, Yes, there are other people like me out there that are doing what I do. Yes, let's connect.

Unknown Speaker 2:59
We're just having a chat about that before, isn't it? It's so lovely to find people that are in your space. And you know, we all share this thing around. It's not a competition. There are so many beautiful women out there and business that needs support. And each of us individually finds our own people. And it's just it's so so lovely. So let's start I'd love you both to share a little bit about you, your businesses. Where did the idea come from? And what really made you decide to launch? I don't know who whoever wants to go first, Holly to want to go? Okay, sure.

Unknown Speaker 3:32
Let's do this. So thank you again, Nicole, for having me. I love that we've been brought together by the collective good of gigs so far. Otherwise, it probably wouldn't have known you and Lauren. And the other thing is that we are actually all based in Melbourne like that's, I think that's kind of special in itself. And so I, as you said, I'm an accountability and productivity partner for women in business, helping them to smash society's expectations of productivity. And the motion for this business came about unexpectedly, I might add in 2019. As I was building my former business made a VA. I didn't actually expect to begin work as an accountability and productivity partner until 2022 when our daughter starts primary school, yeah, but it actually all started coming together in late 2019. As more and more of my audience requested my services as a mentor. So I was like, oh, okay, maybe my little dream that I had in April of 2019. And I think this all started to happen in September of 2019. Maybe I need to start acting on that a lot sooner. And here we are now it is 2021. Everything started to come together. Right is COVID hit? I remember dropping my first course. The day that job see And job keeper was announced and like when all of the hospitality people lost their jobs and I'm just like, I conscientiously I just, I can't I consciously cannot do launch this product, I cannot promote it you know, there is so much happening in the world right now. So I'm basically at square one, I had a really successful VA business. And I'm now back at square one, building my accountability and productivity partner business. But outside of all of that, I am, as I mentioned, I have a daughter, she is four and a half. She's rambunctious, I love her. But Gosh, she does test me sometimes. And I am a wife of a dementia researcher. I'm deeply passionate about the four pillars of sustainability. And they are human, social, economic, and environmental. And I actually have a piece of paper from uni that says I can be urgent, sorry, and urgent. I can't be an urgent planner if I want to. But I can be an urban and regional planner. Thought I was pregnant when I graduated in 2015. So that didn't really happen. And the fun things about me, although I love ice cream, and I can say the alphabet backward in under six seconds. Wow, that skill?

Unknown Speaker 6:09
I don't think I could say four words in under six seconds. Oh, fantastic. Yeah. COVID. Hey, love that. I launched my business as I was sharing just before we press record at the start of 2020. And yeah, arrived, right bang into the joys of that last year. But it's amazing what you can achieve when you just put that, you know, Forward Forward focus on and what what can I actually do with this time? And how can I actually assist people to get through a difficult time?

Unknown Speaker 6:39
Exactly. Yeah. 100% couldn't agree more. And that was, you know, that was one of the challenges for me. But I think that I've gone from strength to strength, and I was still operating as a VA whilst building myself. My personal brand, but I've actually only taken on the name taking the personal brand on in the last maybe two or three months. So

Unknown Speaker 7:03
yeah, gratulations that's so fabulous. Chinese.

Unknown Speaker 7:07
Yes, just be you.

Unknown Speaker 7:09
It's what I've explored, just being me is just pretty cool. It's great. Love it.

Unknown Speaker 7:16
Lauren,

Unknown Speaker 7:17
I'd love to hear your story as well.

Unknown Speaker 7:19
All of a sudden, I've just realized why for the first few years of my business, I was so lonely because you guys came on the scene in 2019 2020. And back in 2016. When I like started my business, I'm like, I can't be the only person doing this. But maybe it's just like, okay, the cool people didn't start till

Unknown Speaker 7:42
medical people. That's right.

Unknown Speaker 7:45
Um, so yeah, so my business is usually sorted. And I started it in 2016. My background is actually in franchise systems and project management. Not surprising, probably. So I worked for boost juice, Baker's delight, Priceline pharmacy. And then while I was working my last corporate job, which was Priceline as a campaign manager, in their loyalty, loyalty area, I was also establishing a different business with my partner. So we also do property development and getting construction. So again, on the whole, project management element to that left price line to work with my partner in that business, where we quickly realized, we like the same tasks and dislike the same time. And so what we thought would be great because we enjoy the same things quickly meant we also didn't want to do the same things as a lot of infighting over, or I don't want to do that. But also, that that business is his passion area. So I decided, whilst I was still supporting him, I needed something to like, really take on my passion areas, and hence, CRC sorted was born, I guess, as I lovingly say, seriously sorted 1.0 was born, where it was kind of like, I don't know what I'm gonna do. I'm just gonna try like, generic coaching and this and that the other and I'm like, this isn't working, because people are coming to me for structure, and I'm not structured enough in my service. So it's taken me a couple of years, I suppose to get to what I now call seriously sort of 2.0 which is, I guess what you see now when you come and work with me, which is a much more structured format to help people work out what is the best way for them to be productive, make the most of their time regained their time and all that fun stuff that all three musti Yeah, and isn't that true? I

Unknown Speaker 9:43
think of any business, you know, you've launched and you think, you know, I was actually just talking about this morning was in one of my client's session, she's going through this journey now. You know, when I started, I thought my ideal client was a 45 to a 50-year-old male in an established business. just needing to wait ready to scale up, you know, so just tweaking it all out. That is very different from who I work with now and how I see it being and I love where I am now. But I think you have to go through that, to realize that, you know, finding those things that maybe aren't your cup of tea, and just refining, refining, refining until you find, you know, I know, I'm still going through that journey myself of what is the exact thing? I'm pretty much there now. But um, yeah, it's good. It's good. exploration. I think we all like a bit of exploration in what we do. Okay, sorry. We all understand the power and importance of implementing those beautiful business systems and structures into the world of not only asked but our clients and how that, that foundations of their business really helps to create the space and freedom that everyone really likes. So I thought maybe we could talk about planning, and time blocking prioritization. Focus, how do we keep focused? all the jazz? All That Jazz? Sorry, perfect. Where do you want to start? And we promise sweet, well, I can't even promise that we kind of had this data, this conversation, but like, we'll try and keep it to an hour. Sorry, try.

Unknown Speaker 11:28
But yeah, planning. Let's go.

Unknown Speaker 11:30
What are we talking about? Well,

Unknown Speaker 11:33
where do we start?

Unknown Speaker 11:34
Where do we start?

Unknown Speaker 11:37
Aside from the very beginning?

Unknown Speaker 11:42
I do think so.

Unknown Speaker 11:46
This is making my heart squeal with delight because singing is one of my things. Sorry, well, for me, my friends call me the time blocking queen. Love it, I guess. And I have been planned and organized for as long as I can remember my first diary was a dinky diary. When I was eight years

Unknown Speaker 12:10
old. I remember.

Unknown Speaker 12:13
A little

Unknown Speaker 12:15
Yeah, grew or something. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 12:17
Yeah. So mine was like, actually, it's a very similar color to my drink bottle. My drink bottle is like a turquoise kind of blue. And I had a very similar color. And it was like, the trifold thing. Yeah, 123 with a magnetic closure. And, you know, like, I just thought I was the bee's knees. And all through high school, I was the one with the color-coded timetable. And I knew what was what, when was when, and all that kind of stuff. So for me, like, it's, it's an inherent part of my being, it's just, it's who I am, it always has been, um, you know, if you were to look at my desk right now, not everything is millimeter perfect, like, you know, and if anything is so much skewed. Like I say to my husband, and Mark, you've been at my pens, I can see that you've been in for you know, this. And, you know, while that's not really on the planning thing, I think, I think that if you are somebody who likes to plan, you are also somebody who is very organized in both their time and their space, could be wrong.

Unknown Speaker 13:27
Yeah, I think it's having that base level organization that can help you then to do the planning. You know, you've got those skills, those systems in place that actually if and if it's not your natural way of being, having those skills that you can fall back on all those tools to fall back on to help you to get to where you want to be. Like I know, in our house, it's been an unwritten rule since Simon my husband and I got together if it's not in the diary, it's not happening. So, you know, it's one of those things that I'm always you've got to have it planned out, you know, that you're going, I don't know, out for Mother's Day lunch in a couple of week, two weeks, whenever it is, what do we need to order lunch before that. So get that. Obviously, that's just a really simple example. But um, yeah, absolutely. Learn what do you think your time blocker?

Unknown Speaker 14:23
I am a time blocker. And I don't know if I'm backsies non-controversial or not? No, I say my biggest pet peeve would be time blocking for time blocking sake, and for people to not people who not people, but time blocking where it's just like, oh, I'm gonna give everything an hour. I'm gonna give, you know, social media content planning an hour, and I'm gonna give my digital product an hour and I'm gonna give my client work an hour and it's like, why like, I feel like people just sort of launch into time blocking without going back and doing the work as to well, how long does each thing realistically take? And do I actually need to do it weekly? Like, do I need to be content planning every single Monday for half an hour? Or could I do it for one hour? Once a month? And I would actually get just as much done and I've saved myself an hour over the month. So yes, I do time block. But I hoped that I time block with intention. Yep. And yeah, like, I find it hard when people come to me and just go, I just really need your help with time blocking. And I think you probably do, but what you actually need help with is going back to the beginning, which is kind of what I do in my foundational service is actually work out. Well, what is your ideal way of working with a client? Yeah, not just verbatim. Let me know what you do currently. to then go cool. Okay, now we know how long each thing takes. And we can figure out is doing these things daily, weekly, monthly, by school term, or once a year or whatever it is the best way to do it. I think people get stuck in a consistent repetitiveness of every single thing that they time block, instead of going, I do need to do each thing consistently. But they can all be on their own. Repeat, I suppose, if that makes sense.

Unknown Speaker 16:23
Yeah, absolutely.

Unknown Speaker 16:25
Yeah. And I think just to add to that, to the thing that I, that is my pet peeve about time blocking is that people, and this is because of a lack of awareness and a lack of education. They're like, Oh, yep, time blocking, that is just blocking out time in my calendar to do something. But it's actually more about understanding how you operate as a person. And so let's like, and I don't mind sharing this, because you know, this is everywhere on the internet. But time blocking is, in my experience, and my understanding is actually about doing those hard tasks when you're more focused. Yeah. So if you're, for instance, like you hate doing your books, every month, or whatever it is, you take, you know, an hour and a half each week, because I think that if it's something that you really dread, incredibly. And, you know, let's say, you have lots of purchases, and the invoicing And whatever you do that when you do have the focus, rather than let's say, so for me, I'm highly focused in the morning, and I'm still focused in the afternoon, but I know that I'm also getting to the end of the day. So I'm not going to be doing I mean, I outsource my bookkeeping, because I know that my time is better spent elsewhere, I could do it. But I'm certainly happy for Lisa to do

Unknown Speaker 17:48
it. That is so key as well, I always talk about that, like we can win fabulous, we can do everything, but should we shouldn't be doing that, like let's out, if we can outsource you can afford to do that. And it means that it frees up you to do your area of shining light, then that's a fabulous thing to do. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 18:06
love that. You know, so I'd much rather get my creative lens happening in the afternoon when I know that it's something that doesn't require a lot of critical thinking. And then I can just be a bit more free-flowing. And I think that is a common misconception of time blocking is that people have their time just blocked out. Like he said, Laura, and like whether it's just an hour for everything, or even if they're just, you know, putting three hours in for content creation or whatever, I think that there needs to be a bit more awareness that it's more than just blocking time in a calendar and I'm using air quotes there.

Unknown Speaker 18:49
And understanding, you know, you said holy, you're more productive or more focused in the morning, you know, I talked about the working rhythm and your personal working rhythm and understanding where that is. And not okay, wherever it is, you know, when you run your own business, you have the choice to work early. You know, I've got some clients before that's when their day starts. I'm a night owl. So I love to work late into the night and that's absolutely okay. There's no you don't have to work nine to five. No, that's it. You don't have to, which is so good. And the structure thing. You know, a lot of people get a little bit scared when we say let's get you structured, let's add some, you know, to your world, but really, it's not. I don't see it as concrete. I don't see structure as a, you know, interview guide. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So, yeah, awesome. So, so good.

Unknown Speaker 19:46
You're on the same page.

Unknown Speaker 19:48
I think the other thing with time blocking is the mistake of time blocking your entire day because we actually shouldn't be at 100% capacity or Time because it leaves no room for flexibility whatsoever. And equally, when you do time block I like to sort of talk to people about well, you know, let's say it is social media management, right? Like, if, if, if someone else was doing that for you, and for some reason, they needed to not do it today, you'd expect them to move it and do it tomorrow, right. So if you are equally the person that is doing all the things, you need to make sure that you can reschedule yourself for a different day. And if you've time blocked everything to the nth degree, and is there's no room for space, that's when you are going to feel super restricted by structure instead of feeling free and structures about control. Your as in you having control over your time and much less about being stick, you must pick something and pick a time and you must do it, then I think that's the other thing as well, like not being at capacity so that you can actually reschedule yourself, because so many people literally do put it into a calendar, right? And a cycle. Yeah, if that was a different person that had booked that meeting with you, you'd expect it to be rescheduled, but when it's just you, people kind of just delete them. And it's like, no, it's a meeting with yourself. Think of it as a meeting with yourself. You need to reschedule that meeting.

Unknown Speaker 21:16
Hmm. Yeah, I love to have you on that. Because we were the most important person in our world. like you'd never stand yourself up on a date. Would you sit now with your cocktail waiting for yourself to walk in? there? Why?

Unknown Speaker 21:32
I like that analogy better, like standing up a date over? That's probably

Unknown Speaker 21:38
more enticing. Oh, yeah, I feel like and expressing my teeny, that would be nice. One of the things as well, when I talk to, you know, work with my clients about this is putting in those personal things. Because I really, you know, you see business owners tick again, and again, just working working to the grind, like getting all the things done, and yeah, that they're fabulous. But the just, you can see that they're not letting themselves recharge and rejuvenate. So that's the first thing I say like, what are your daily personal activities that you need to do. If it's, you know, journaling, or yoga or Pilates in the morning, putting that in, or if you know, it's going dancing or having an hour to sing karaoke with YouTube, whatever it is, that's my world. And you know, just making sure that you've got those things in there is really important and don't feel like you're not doing the right thing. That's the best way to say it,

Unknown Speaker 22:36
like you taking care of yourself is the best thing to do. Because otherwise, you can't continue to serve your clients and be the fabulous person you want to be every day. So

Unknown Speaker 22:49
one thing that I'd like to share and teach my clients is to make sure that you're, you know, what I say schedule in a lunch break, it doesn't have to be, you know, rigidly at the same time every day. But so many self-employed people forget to eat, they forget to take a break, that is not my problem. Um, you know, and so for me, I find like, it's, it's that great way to remind myself to get up and to go and eat and to either, you know, go out and get some fresh air or to park it over on the couch and just watch some TV and just let my brain unravel for half an hour, 40 minutes. And look, to be honest, there are some days when I don't even go back to work because I can just feel that my body needs to not be sitting in this chair. Yeah, and I just give myself a break. And like he said, Lauren, I reschedule what was booked in. Or if it's something that is, that actually does require my time, I will grab my laptop. So because I predominantly sit at my desktop, I have a desktop. And I have a laptop, if it's something that I know I can do on my laptop, just in Google Docs, or sheets, or whatever, or if it's just a little bit of website stuff, then I'll do it on the couch, like where I can tune in and out. But you know, the thing is, is that I'm not being unfair to myself, I'm not setting unrealistic expectations of and for myself. And that's, I think the main thing that self-employed people, particularly people who are just starting out, I think that's a big trap that they fall into, and there's this culture of Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle, Hustle.

Unknown Speaker 24:37
It's moving from the corporate space. That's exactly what I was. Yeah, yeah. Cuz you're expected you got to be there by 838 39 apps that logged in. Yeah, yeah, you can get up and go and do something else because you know, you've got an hour for lunch. Then you come back and you leave at whatever time and then this guy I'm holding my phone right now is on 24 seven, even though they say that you don't need To be on call, you need to respond right? Yeah. Yep, sorry. And it's that real shift. And that took me a while to shave and I'm in

Unknown Speaker 25:10
corporate guilt, corporate guilt. That's what I call it. And I used to be like, after I finished that my final corporate job, I was like, if I was like, still straightening my hair at five past nine, I felt like I was late. sitting at my desk or like, Yeah, and I think that's the thing that it's such a mindset shift, obviously, to move into from, particularly from corporate to your own business. But we're also kind of taught to feel guilty about working less. Yeah, like, like, I don't work. Fridays and I only work a little bit of Thursdays. And I have like, last year, I had November, December, Jen an agent, yeah, December, January off. And I remember, even when I decided to take that time off, you know, I obviously had planned it out, of course, and I could afford to do it. But I found myself like when I was telling people that I was taking, you know, two months off that I felt like I had to justify Are you know, I'm going to, I'm going to be working on my digital product or blah, blah, it's like, Why can I just say to people, I'm having the time off? Yeah, there's such a stigma around, you must be working all the time. And yeah, it's really challenging, even for people who, you know, part of what I do with my work, and probably you guys do, too, is like, Okay, why are we working this week, by weak mentality, there are people who might need to work three weeks on one week off or by term and not work in school holidays, if they, you know, obviously, if you can afford to, but it's such a huge shift, it feels so guilty to take more time off than, you know, your standard four weeks, and whatever. And that's something that I'm very passionate about working to live not living to work,

Unknown Speaker 26:53
yes.

Unknown Speaker 26:54
And that's why I started my business, really, you know, I wanted to have the choice and you know, savvy, my five-year-olds just started prep this year. So I know with COVID, there's no such thing as the library and all those sorts of volunteering things right now. But my intention was that once my business is established, that I can make those choices, and I actually don't I work my days, like 10 till last finish to 30. No client sessions, like client-facing work, Monday to Friday, you know, so and that was my choice. And at first, you know, when I sort of started saying, well, I just I started Tanner was like this, you know, beat my Koi. And now I'm like, I stopped before 10. Yeah, like, that's, that's when I start. So,

Unknown Speaker 27:42
yeah, actually, in some ways, that's almost like, our own sort of marketing for ourselves. Like, in our businesses, it's like, That's right, we start at 10, or we don't work Fridays, or whatever it is, you can't do like, we should be the people that are the most confidence heavy. Like, we have worked out a way that suits us personally. And it happens that we work less time because that's what we want, like, yeah, plenty of people, obviously, that I work with, like, Well, no, actually, no, I shouldn't say like that. Plenty of people want to scale. But I do mostly find that when I like someone completes the questionnaire for me and all that kind of fun stuff. And I asked like, what do you want to get out of it from a time point of view, and the choices are sort of like, do more in less time do more and more time. Like, it's always done less in less time. I've rarely worked with someone who's like, I want to become a conglomerate. It's always like, I just want to stay me plus some support staff. And I want to get to a point where I can just do this portion of my business or work X amount of hours or whatever it is like they do. They are attracted to businesses like ours because they want to work less. So if anything, the three of us should be very proud of the fact that we found a way to each work less. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 28:59
Yeah, absolutely. I don't work Mondays, Monday is my actual day off. If I am sitting at my computer, I kind of slap myself on the hand. That's the day that I spend with our daughter. Of course, next year, when she goes to school, I am still planning on honoring that day as being a mayday like, you know, go and do whatever I want. I was talking to one of the educators at my daughter does kinja at her daycare center and I was talking to one of the educators who's taken a mummy week this week because her kid turned four yesterday and today she's off to the hot springs den down on the peninsula and I'm just like, that's what I want to be able to do you know like that's at the moment. It's not financially viable for us, but that's fine. I know that. For me, money is not the be-all and end-all I have no dreams of a seven-figure business, not even a six-figure business. I'm happy with five I'm happy with like, you know, 50 grand up because that will supplement my husband's income nicely. We'll be fine. And I think that's something else that people should not be afraid to talk about is money. Yeah. Anywho

Unknown Speaker 30:04
gosh, I've lost my point. Going to the renting land. Oh, yes. Yes.

Unknown Speaker 30:09
Yes. So, so I work. That's what I'm saying. Yeah. So Monday's will be my day. I work Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, because they're the days that my daughter is at kinda. That's it. Friday is either a mixture of chores. So that we don't have to do stuff on the weekend so that we can have family adventures or just chill out and watch movies or whatever. And occasionally I will work if I need to, or not even if I need to if I want to, because like it's asked making that choice. And so this is not my first rodeo, I have actually been self-employed on and off since I was 19. So that's 18 years. And before I had the VA business, I actually had invitations and stationery business that I started when I was the first-year uni instead of studying for my exams, and I actually only stopped that because I was getting more money doing helping friends, before actually officially going on, maybe I should do VA stuff because I used to have a corporate background as well. You know, so, so having all of that experience, so I'm, what am I I'll be 37 in August. having that experience of seeing what has worked overtime. So like I was self-employed, while I was studying full time in my late 20s. I've, you know, I've found what works and what doesn't, and yes, obviously, with each business, it's different. But I've been able to take my corporate and retail experiences, along with my self-employment history, and arrive at this point today and have this conversation.

Unknown Speaker 31:52
And every experience, everything that you travel through, you pick little bits out, and you find that they're the things that suit and work for you personally. And then you just evolve those into the next thing. And the next thing and, you know, I think that never stops growing learning education, something that I'm truly passionate about I I never stopped learning. And I don't think anybody should stop learning because there's always some evolution of something and it doesn't have to mean doing the next big course, it might be that you've dried, some tried something, and you've taken a lesson away from that either, either. Maybe I won't do that, again, all my life that I'm going to repeat that action.

Unknown Speaker 32:33
I think that's the point, we're creating a process and your business as well. Like, it's when you create it, it's it works. Well. Number one, when you update your processes until you start living them. It's theory-based, when you sort of go right, I need to change this, like, you know, this doesn't work for me, I'm gonna try doing it this way. That's theory until you try it out. And it's, it's okay to continue to, as much as we're all structural gals, like, and sometimes I need to remind myself to do this, like, you know, just because I've created a new way of doing something recently, doesn't mean I can't change it today. Like it doesn't actually then have to stay in place all the time. And that's why I also try and remind my clients like, of course, you know, we've rejigged their search, you know, their service, it's hopefully more efficient. In theory, they still need to sort of put it into practice and then further refine it. And it's okay, if that actually only lasts until you know, the end of this year, because next year, you know, you do have kids going to school or whatever if it might only work for a particular amount of time. And as long as it's, you know, you're okay to continually change it. You just got to sort of remember that like to Yeah, like you say, continually learn, but also continually evolve. It's only gonna work for a particular amount of time or for a particular point in time, I think.

Unknown Speaker 33:55
Yeah, that's right. I always say workflows and processes is a fluid evolution of your journey that you're going through. And if something has been there for a while, it's probably time right now for everyone that's listening. Have a look at them. What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? What do you think maybe are using a tool or a system that's not serving you anymore? Or are you just staying there because it's easy to stay there? Because that's the thing that I noticed as well that people are working the way that they're working because it's too hard to do seems too difficult to move on to something else, or they don't have space have the capacity to think about another way of working.

Unknown Speaker 34:37
Can I give up another controversial kind potentially?

Unknown Speaker 34:40
Yes, please do.

Unknown Speaker 34:42
The software doesn't solve your problems.

Unknown Speaker 34:45
Yep.

Unknown Speaker 34:45
So another pet, or this could just be an episode of Lauren's pet peeves. I cannot stand saying in Facebook groups where people just go Hey, what CRM does everybody use and people just list them all. It's like, Oh, great. I just had to tell you the one that people use the most. It's like, Wait just a minute. What do you even do with your business? Like, do you even need a CRM is what you actually need might be project management or click up or you know, something like that. Like,

Unknown Speaker 35:16
Oh, hang on, stop. You just said my buzzword, are you?

Unknown Speaker 35:18
It's one of my favorite. It's my favorite toy. Yeah, cup people, we

Unknown Speaker 35:21
all put all my eggs we're all loving. That is not we're not going to go down that.

Unknown Speaker 35:27
But it doesn't really matter, right? Like, I get people to come to me and are like, Ah, you know, I tried a particular CRM, and it just didn't work for me. And I'm like, I'm not surprised. Because the CRM wants to know exactly what you do in your business, please tell me your processes. And it's like, oh, I still have to think about it. It's not just gonna, like, do it. For me. It's like, no, that's exactly why we need to work together so that we can work out what is your system and process and template to then inform some kind of software? I think that's a huge myth that when people hear the word system, they think it means software. And it's not systems and processes about repeatable tasks, even if you're doing them completely manually if a human is doing them. So like, complete those tasks, but the software isn't like he should be picking software, secondary, you need to figure out what the specs are first. Like, it's no different to picking a computer like, Okay, how much memory do I need? And how big a screen do I need? Like, you would even if people go, Oh, well, I use a MacBook Pro. You don't just necessarily hopefully, go and buy a MacBook Pro, you have to think about what you need and the fact that you actually need two screens and actually your pace a person, so Mac books never gonna work for you. So it's, it's no different even with these cloud software. It's like, Okay, why am I even looking at it in the first place? I've got the tingles for looking at ClickUp or something. What what are they, you know, if there are features in that, that are of interest to me, it must be because I think it's going to solve a problem. So let's go back and figure out what is the bloody problem, to begin with? Yeah. And, and I think that's, like, such a huge thing that people need to work out. And I figured, you know, I guess that's probably what all three of us actually do. It's like, hey, people come back right to the start, let's figure out the most efficient way to do it, even if you do it manually. And then we can look at whether there's a software solution to help you, you know, right.

Unknown Speaker 37:25
Totally. And, uh, you know, trying to overcomplicate like, you know, that buzzword CRM, you know, everyone needs a CRM, bah, bah, blah, blah, but actually look at the study of business, you need to know the what and the how, you know, and really designing out that step by step. And that whole process is so sad. Yeah, I'm absolutely on the same page as you learn there. And I think Holly is as well. And it can be, you know, a process that you do need some assistance with, obviously, because we are here to help you come and see us my fabulous. Um, yeah, it's, it's, you know, I have some clients that come in, they know the start in the end, but they just need to be pulling out all the little step by steps in between some come with a structure, and we just refine it, and some have no idea what needs to happen. And that's totally fine, wherever you are on that journey. But spending that time to stop and think about, especially the really key elements of your business that you're doing day in, day out, that are feeling a little bit icky, and yucky, and oh, and I want to do that anymore. Stopping and thinking about the actual workflow is so so okay. Yeah, I'll have fun I love Oh my gosh, guys, this is I knew this will happen. I love

Unknown Speaker 38:51
this rabbit hole. Do we click next?

Unknown Speaker 38:54
Well, do we want to do I was gonna talk about tools and stuff, but I don't know if that's gonna that's probably an episode in itself as well.

Unknown Speaker 39:02
I think it might be saying that there's nothing wrong with the software. Oh, nice. Like, check out what you need. First. That software if you want to talk about it,

Unknown Speaker 39:12
everyone's different as well. You know, so we obviously us ClickUp super fans, which I did not realize and I am sorry, now extra excited. This is cool. But ClickUp might not be for you. And that's totally fine. There are lots of other ones like everyone knows Asana and Trello are Monday and that might be what's suitable for you. And our role is not to force it down your throat saying you must use it even though I love ClickUp, I know that that's not what everyone likes to use. So we evolve and once we've got your workflows we just make those have been into whatever systems that you choose, but you're right, learn secondary. So

Unknown Speaker 39:53
yeah, and equally like you can't put input anything into a CRM or a project management system until you've done like the templates. It's like, even if it's literally like canned emails in, you know, you have to create them before you can move them into CRM, and you have to figure out what your task list looks like in order to put it in, to click up, I suppose. And yeah, when people say to me, I just need you to recommend software. I'm like, No, like, I won't do that, I'll happily tell people what I use. But with the caveat of that does not mean I'm necessarily telling you that you need to use it, that or that it suits you like, you know, Dubsado, for example, is a CRM customer relationship management system for people who are wondering that I do use, and it's fantastic, I love it. But if you are a bigger business, who needs like, you know, at the moment, as it stands with the features that it has, you can't email from multiple email addresses to clients, everything is funneled through them, they can have multiple users, everything is funneled through one email address. So if that doesn't, like, if that's critical to your business, as an example, that isn't going to work for you, and we're not going to know that until we go through that process. I suppose. So yeah, I'm happy to tell people what I use. But I still with the caveat that it may or may not suit you until we've had a proper chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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